The Olympics Unleashed tour has travelled across Far North Queensland visiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and schools throughout the region during November.

Wulli Wulli and Goreng Goreng woman, and Tokyo 2020 beach volleyball silver medallist, Taliqua Clancy, was one of the Olympians who inspired young people on the tour.

Clancy spoke to the National Indigenous Times about the importance of the trip and visiting Indigenous communities.

“To be able to come to these communities and talk with the kids, I think, is huge,” she said.

“To be able to see them and tell them, ‘hey I was just like you once upon a time’, perhaps that can inspire them to work hard, study hard, and go achieve their dreams.

“As a kid I remember seeing athletes that looked like me on TV and realising that I could be at the Olympic Games too.”

“Being able to see them in person is just an extension of that very idea — I think it can be really powerful.”

Photo supplied Australian Olympic Committee

The trip visited Thursday Island, Horn Island, Yarrabah and Lockhart River.

Dual Olympic boxer Brad Hore and former basketballer Danny Morseu joined Clancy on
the trip.

The Olympians got to tell their stories with the aim of helping the children see the connection between aspirations and goals.

Clancy told the National Indigenous Times the highlight of the trip for her was “having
the opportunity to connect with so many young people in these regional communities”.

“To see all their smiling faces, and to be welcomed with such open arms, it reminds you why you do it,” she said.

“Why you put in all those long hours in the gym, to hopefully inspire even one young kid to get involved with sport.”

Photo supplied Australian Olympic Committee.

Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll hopes the tours will inspire the children to aim high.

“Olympics Unleashed began right here in Queensland, at the Queensland Academy of Sport, and since then Olympic athletes have inspired more than 120,000 students right across the State from Brisbane to some of the most remote communities,” Mr Carroll said.

“This program continues to help students in all communities to find their passion, that it is OK to fail and pick yourself up, and encourage them to have a go at sport.

“As we head towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we want children everywhere to dream big, set goals and live healthy lives.”

The AOC is hopeful Indigenous representation in both the Paralympics and Olympics will increase.

This year, Australia had its largest ever contingent of Indigenous athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Games, with 16 First Nations competitors among the national team of 486.

By Teisha Cloos